Museum & KHSoc News No. 1

December 1018

Greetings from the Committee at Kington Museum to our supporters, volunteers and friends.

A good deal has happened in the last few months and it seems appropriate now to update you on the changes and things to come in 2019 and beyond.

For the first time in several years we opened the museum for 2018 and ran with a rota of volunteers most of whom had joined us recently. Thanks to all those who did extra sessions in order to keep our doors open as regularly as possible through the season and especially to Chris Jones who undertook many extra shifts, helped unearth artefacts to loan to St Mary’s for the town remembrance events and manoeuvred his vintage tractor into pride of place as an exhibit for vintage days. This and for so much more we owe you Chris. We shall miss you in the coming season.

Peter Collins retains his title as storyteller extraordinaire on the rota as comments in our visitors book attest.

Alan Stoyel opted to stand down as Chair at our November AGM but retains his role as accessioning stalwart and committee member. I agreed to take the role as Chair as of 20thNovember, and also continue to lead the group working on how the modernised organisation will run short and longer term. With the consistent help of Margaret Atkinson, Angharrad Morgan our curator who joined us in spring this year and the committee, we all have many challenges to face but we will handle them. As a mere newcomer of two and a half years in Kington I am not a native, but an enthusiastic historian who has experience of the charity sector which will help us in the coming months.   Guidance will be sought from the Charity Commission and voluntary sector support organisations to ensure we have all our essential requirements covered and can move forward into 2019 and beyond with clear purpose and enthusiasm for our role in Kington and local community.

The future?

In the last few months we have asked members of the History Society and the Museum respectively for their views on merging the functions of the two organisations into one. The Society was struggling to thrive due to lack of active volunteers to form a committee and run an engaging programme of talks and visits for all to enjoy. Whilst many people voiced concern at its potential disappearance from Kington it was not sustainable and the members voted overwhelmingly to support a merger with the Museum. The Museum members supported the proposal as well and a merger working group has been formed with representatives from both organisations. Our purpose is to form a modern charity with the necessary legal protection for Trustees, some capacity to seek external funds for resources and improved display spaces and to offer an open doors invitation to coincide with dates of community events.  We also intend to reforge old links with local schools and engage with others not involved before now. Likewise to offer reminiscence resources for care homes supporting people with a dementia. The History Society purpose of assisting with family research will continue along with a programme of interesting talks and visits and hopes are high that we will attract new members and volunteers to assist with the promotion of both organisations.

Eventually there will be a new name to unify the merged organisations and a new logo to make it stand out. We will be seeking ideas as we progress and look forward to hearing from you with yours and any offers of help along the way will certainly be considered.

For those of you who have volunteered for either organisation in the past and might be interested in joining us again do please contact me. In 2019 the curator and I will be running a number of training sessions for volunteers to ensure that we are all familiar with our systems, confident in assisting people with enquiries, and have the chance to handle and learn more about treasures we hold for safekeeping.

Meantime the ‘closed season’ working group who use their Thursday mornings in the winter season to change displays, catalogue artefacts and update our resources, are pooling ideas for changes for the coming season. We also want to have displays in keeping with local anniversaries, such as the 75thanniversary of the hospital opening at Kington Camp and others. We may be missing other key anniversaries into which we should tie our displays, so do let us know.

In March the Museum will be opening the charity shop once again and we look forward to meeting bargain hunters and prospective new volunteers alike.

In the meantime  we wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. See you in 2019. Next news update in later January.

Denise and all committee members at the museum